47 – Suicide Squad

coverblackRecorded August 12th.  “Don’t worry, I still love you.”  Suicide Squad, love & hate, critics, demographics, and punk rock.

Answers, insights, and commentary on:

  • Suicide Squad art book the best yet
  • Expectations first viewing
  • Loving and not liking without contradiction
  • Kevin Smith’s commitment
  • “Anarchic punk rock art movie”
  • Audience demographics opening week
  • 81% of African Americans and Hispanics gave the film a positive score
  • 76% of audience members under age 35 gave the film a positive score
  • Batson Rule of jury selection applied to RT Top Critics
  • Gender demographics of critics
  • Giving critics appropriate weight
  • Punk rock history
    • Universal yearning
    • Punk vs. Prog Rock
    • Ayer’s punk-like courage
    • Sincerity and reality
    • Rebellion threatens establishment
    • Diversity
    • Improvisation and inspiration
    • Effort, blood, sweat, and tears
    • Commercialization
    • Ayer built a family
    • Recognition over time
  • Gladwell on Cézanne
  • Marjorie Lui on diversity in comics

…and much more!

Interview with David Ayer | Empire
5 Reasons Why Suicide Squad Stayed At The Box Office | Meriah Doty
Suicide Squad Is The Most Diverse Superhero Cast Yet | Graphiq
You Don’t Own Me ft. G-Eazy | Grace
Rock & Roll – Punk (1995) | PBS
Episode 7: Hallelujah | Revisionist History
Marjorie Liu’s Monstress Pushes the Boundaries | New Yorker
“Naughty” – Matilda The Musical | Tim Minchin

Web: ManOfSteelAnswers.com
Twitter: @mosanswers
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I’m aware that “anarchic punk rock” is its own sub-genre within punk.  😛

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  1. (haven’t listened yet) Just saw this great video in a Suicide Squad discussion; an actual boomerang-enthusiast mounted a camera to a boomerang with decent video quality: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XLWBAal63k0

  2. The guy in punk rock v prog rock, ironically sounding quite similar to Joel Kinnaman, haha!

  3. Really enjoyed this podcast. You really helped fully expound on and articulate the feeling I had when I walked out of the movie theater, “I know some people aren’t going to like this – but I LOVED it.”

  4. Squad is certainly a movie for teens and twens (+ action and anti-hero / anti-villain comics).
    This is my time to ramble I guess: I am 27, i am mixed race, i have a tattoo + long hair, i kind like punk music, i certainly love video games (that analogy was well chosen Doc as this could have been a videogame adaption) and i prefer the Squad comics to JLA. Most of the N52 run is sadly a mess though. Rebirth fixed Squad btw.
    I thus stand my ground with John Ostrander and Mr. Ayer made me proud to be a fan. I got the 2nd good Squad film after the 8/10 Assault on Arkham toon. I never expected to even get 1 a decade ago!
    The JLU ep. Task Force X is still the best adaption though and Arrow´s aborted take on them was solid.

    The film is exactly what the escalating trailer complain promised (the ballroom blitz trailer is the most fitting) and i liked this movie a tin bit more than MoS, despite both getting an identical Imdb or “head score” from me. No offense but MoS is the most complicated origin film of all time. I first though that the screw slightly rushed the MoS script but listening to Doc convinced me that they spend too much time on it. The narrative minimalism of Squad though leaves a slightly blank canvas that can easy and creatively be filled by the audience. The sign of a good ensemble movie. I was never bored or scratching my head. The TC of BvS managed the later but the UC is as good as this franchise may ever get. It forced me to speak up after all, but Squad never tried to be such a film. I wanted so see a 2nd Deadpool (also a B+), just with the Deadpool Corps, and WB delivered. I like the film because and NOT inspire of it, but I get it. I even smiled when I saw the then 19% on RT when I woke up to smell the latest DCEU reddit meltdown. We have a few more ahead of us but vocal supporters are starting to rise for these films. So is the hate. That showdown will a sight to behold…
    I have participated a bit in the last thread on the current state of film criticism, so I will leave it there.

    Squad is best described as anti-Oscar-bait (Revenant is the latest definition of Oscar-bait) and I myself have seen the positive public reception, from women no less, due to the well done diversity aspect. I also researched the film at least as well as Doc (I am a HARDCORE Squad fan after all), as I knew of all played interviews and then some. The Marv Wolfman novelization seems to be very similar to the film btw.
    I will read it too and the same can be said of the test audiences cut. Trust me, this librarian dug a pretty deep internet hole. I further trust Ayer that the re-shoots were in his design. It´s very noticeable that the film was improvised in big parts, as let´s say Ghostbusters 1984, so a second (and in advanced scheduled it seems) clean-up run makes sense to me. Re-shoots can break movies, hello World Ward Z, but Star Wars IV was being re-edited while in the cinema in 1977 and the re-shoots for Rogue One don´t bother me either. Making tentpole films isn´t an exact science. The scene of Joker slapping Dr. Harley was never finished for example and it would go against the character takes they chose (N52 for Harley and Morrison + the credited Azzarello for Joker). Random racism by Boomerang or a suggestion that Sklipnot is a serial rapist, to make the audience dislike him, don´t seem like losses to me. I look forward to the confirmed deleted scenes on the dvds (a 1st for us) but I am not signing any petition to get a new cut. Ayer was frank that they experimented to the last second and they chose a winner, for at least me. The Dark Knight Rises (still an A-) is a much clear victim of missing scenes.

    This imperfect film lastly fits snugly into Ayer´s filmography and I expected a solid B and got a B+ in the end. My second viewing cemented that opinion. I will post my Imdb review in a separate post, I wrote it around the 1000 word limit. I will write one for MoS too (both parts for BvS are on this site somewhere) and we consumers really need to speak up a bit more, besides the large amount of money WB gets from us.
    The amount of pure web hatred towards way too many participants is just saddening. Put a smile on that face. The DCEU is on the right track due to them!

    • Addendum: I should have noted that i appreciated the crushing reviews, as they proved that Zack was never the problem. The amount of DC writer who started to finally speak up, as the noticed from where the wind is blown… , was a welcome sight too. I don´t care about any detractors unless they play the inaccurate to the comics cards. That is factually wrong on ALL levels. It´s the only way to get me worked up about any of this. Ayer and Joe Quesada (more in him later) + Stan Lee even got a friendly rubbing going.

  5. Enough rambling, here us my Imdb review and DCEU analyst extraordinaire “Samuel Otten” just began his scene by scene analysis on the film. Look him up on Youtube, you will find me in the comments too.

    First they drive you mad, and then they drag you to war

    I have been a DC fan since the 90s, read thousands of issues, including every Squid Squad comics EVER. It’ s my favorite US team comic of all time and the DCEU now produced the 3rd source accurate, yet critically despised film in a row. John Ostrander, the creator of the Squad (look him up!), “loved” this movie, yet it is being ripped apart for every sin under the sun. Including being an insult to the comic… I was deathly afraid that the same insanity would tank BvS (read my 9,5/10 review for the UC) but it didn’t. I am now happy that the critics hated this movie as I can’t see myself liking a DCEU film they would. I am also a big Marvel film + comic fan, but why do they get universal acclaim for producing inferior movies that radically change the source material? NO comment, to the review:

    The narrative has a 2 act structure. The 1st half is an over the top black comedy with constantly changing “theme songs” to give quick characterization in a crowded cast. Guardians of the Galaxy had pop songs too, but so did Watchmen and the Crow. Stop the rip-off comments, and i liked all 3. The editing is universally criticized and was so fast that even i needed 5 minutes to adjust, and then it HIT me. The director tried to drive me mad, to get inside the character’s heads, who are mostly mentally unstable convicts. Genius! All but Flag, Katana and Waller (debatable) are villains, yet the film is being ripped apart for having “bad role” models and violence. The film logo has bullet holes, and features the Joker! WTF? The films isn’t exactly a feelgood movie either, never blindly compare it to Guardians again. Deadpool is the only US comic movie with similar ideas. Than hell on Earth, literally, breaks loose, and the mission starts.

    The 2nd half is a borderline bleak war movie, with the Squad and a Special Forces unit cleaning streets and rooms for about 1 hour. A few, universally spectacular flashbacks still occur, a few songs, outside of the well done score, still play but things get dark. That drove critics mad. A war movie about unwilling convicts being dark is a plus! A lot of action in an action film is good! A light in the sky, faceless hordes of enemies and an end-of-the-world plot show up. Just as in the hit comics or Raiders of the Lost Ark. Were these by Marvel too? That’s the story. Simple and clean, yet twisted as a pretzel, including a few JLA cameos. Now, the very diverse Squad in alphabetical order:

    Amanda Waller: Davis nails it, and she ends up being the worst human in the movie, outside of the Joker. The body count on her head makes her the deadliest DCEU (anti-)villain to date. Let’s see if she can redeem herself later. Captain Boomerang: Courtney again reminds us that he can act, if the script is good. He even comes back like a… + 1 for the safety Unicorn. Deadshot: The 70s version is played well by Smith and his well-used daughter has a comic counterpart. You can see how happy The Fresh Prince of Belle Reve is to be in a good movie, for once! El Diablo: Hernandez made a mostly unknown villain a highlight, as such characters are Ayer’s forte. The way he was forced to “power down” is fascinating and very daring for a (hard) PG-13 movie. Enchantress: Delevingne’s ability to go from creepy to deliberately campy inside the same scene is impressive. Certainly the best version of her, critics can suck it. Another great DC big-bad and her romance with Flag had heart, hehe. Who further cares that her “brother”, who serves as muscle in cool action scenes, is left unexplored. He is an enforcer, based on a 2 issue villain. How can this be a MAIN criticism? Good on WB for daring a witchcraft-based villain, despite knowing that it would get the film banned in China! Harley Quinn: Robbie played the New52 version, who is a child-killer, so let’s stop the role model criticism, and her creator liked her. This version also said that another character needed to “own” being a child-killer here. The Joker (Azzarello’s grounded mobster + Morrison’s Thin White Duke), also showed genuine love for “his creation”, so this movie nailed their dynamic. Especially during her chemical transformation. The movie’s best moment and a highlight for the genre. Joker: Leto was the best part of the movie but I am glad that his constant presence was trimmed down by the constantly misreported (surprise?) re-edits. Longer scenes with him would have derailed the picture BEYOND recognition and only 1 whole scene (a short 3rd act gunfight) appears to be left out. He is also the most comic accurate movie version to date and our second perfect interpretation in a row. Katana: Fukuhara did well for a debut perforce and I hope that her backstory will be further explored later. The cracks in the dog on a leach persona were already telling. + 1 for Japanese dialogue with subtitles. Killer Croc: Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s inhuman make-up deserves an Oscar, and he is based on the Azzarello version. These movies aren’t afraid to dive deep! Rick Flag: Kinnaman played the no-nonsense soldier with conviction well and hints of inner darkness were a pleasant surprise. His repertoires with Deadshot were spot on. A straight man and shooter. Slipknot: Beach did the one thing the character was supposed to do right, ’nuff said.

    The action-driven black comedy will ultimately please fans of the DCEU and haters will continue to be baffled by their popularity. David Ayer ain’t a perfect, yet innovative, director and delivered his best movie, together with End of Watch. He now earned a life-long fan with me. The DCEU’s future never looked brighter and don’t forget to read this month’s Suicide Squad Rebirth. 8,5/10

  6. John Ostrander on the movie premier:
    Kind of a shame that he has to “double down” on his positivity… but such is life. I had to do that too.
    The DCEU now made the 3rd film in a row where a lot of the detractors didn´t understand the basic narrative (what their mission was about for example, aka. NOT stopping the demi-gods). I wonder when that will stop?
    I 100% get how TC BvS can fly over one´s head on first viewing but the basic structure of SS and MoS seem comprehensive to at least me. Positive thoughts:
    Rebirth brought him back to write “Suicide Squad: War Crimes Special” in 2 weeks. Can´t wait!
    DC´s corporate synergy in 2016 is something else! An upcoming JLA toon on tv, 5 (!) main dvd films in 1 year (these serves as a testing ground for all sorts of stuff but this year is a mixed bad), the Squad in Injustice 2, great comics (still no duds), and self-adjusting tv shows. Maybe not Arrow though, sigh.

  7. @Doc and all the fans: Young Justice S03 is starting to line up!
    The axed Green Lantern and Beware the Batman were also very good.

    While i am here. The also axed Superman 1988 by Ruby-Spears was the 1st good DC (animated) TV show, but i barley know of people who saw it. Check it out 7,5/10:

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